Whoever coined the phrase, rules were made to be broken, was probably a parent. Toddlers are master explorers of boundaries and limits, testing every rule, even those you didn’t know you needed. Positive discipline, explains Kids Heath, is how we teach our toddlers self control and how to choose acceptable behavior.
Parent Role Model
Actions speak louder than words for your toddler, who takes her cues from you. If you want to see good behavior from your child, let her see it in you in your interactions with her and with others. If she hears you always using please and thank you, she’ll be much more likely to use them herself without your prompts. If you want her to put her toys away, show her how you put your things away.
Take Away Temtpations
If your toddler won’t leave the DVD player alone, try moving it or securing it in a cabinet. Because your toddler is naturally curious, Kids Health recommends removing temptations and putting no-no items out of your child’s reach, especially potentially dangerous items such as cleaning supplies or medications. You can’t childproof the homes of everyone you visit, so if you see your toddler making a beeline for a forbidden object, Kids Health suggests calmly saying “no” and then redirect him to an acceptable activity or simply remove the child from the area.
Your toddler will quickly figure out that for every action, there is a reaction, and even if the reaction results in an upset parent, it’s a reaction none the less. Time outs are an excellent, explains Keep Kids Healthy, to give your toddler time to regroup and settle down while removing the child from positive reinforcement for her actions. Even a negative response from a parent can be positive reinforcement to a toddler if her goal was to get your attention. Keep in mind though, that it’s just as important to reinforce good behavior, so be quick to praise your toddler when you catch her being good.
Parenting a toddler is exhausting, and following through isn’t always easy. Let’s face it, sometimes it’s tempting to give in or look the other way. Try not to cave in, kids need limits and they need to know you’ll enforce them, but give yourself a break. Have realistic expectations for your toddler and hold him to them, but set realistic expectations for yourself, too. The more rules you have, the more you’ll need to enforce, so keep them to a minimum, focusing your attention on the big issues.